3 Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Ask at the End of the Year

This has been a challenging year for many. Whether it’s been that way for you or perhaps just the normal challenges of entrepreneurship, the end of the year is a powerful time to do an end of year review before plunging forward into the new year to tackle a new set of goals.

There are lots of approaches to doing an end of year review both personally and in your business. Of course, that’s something I support my clients to do! Whether you work with a coach or go the do-it-yourself route, there are a few core questions to reflect on to make your review process the best it can be.

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioning ability of man to evaluate his life by a conscious endeavor.” – Henry David Thoreau

Here are a few questions to produce a sense of closure on your year AND feel clear and stronger going forward as you set goals and intentions for the following year:

1) What went well? What success can I celebrate no matter how big/small? How can I build on this next year, if applicable?

Be generous here! Think back over the year and recall the work you did with clients, awards or recognition received, projects launched or completed, stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new (this was one of mine!), completing a course or program, new clients, increased revenue…anything you feel good about. It’s eye opening to really see what you did over the year. It’s easy to be tough on yourself, especially if you haven’t reached one of your goals for the year, but I am confident that you DID accomplish many worthy goals, maybe even some that were not on your list!

2) What CHALLENGES did I have, or mistakes did I make? What could I do differently to handle these challenges better going forward? What have I LEARNED that I can pack up and take with me?

I always think of this one as, “what lesson do I want to put into my suitcase and pack up with me into next year?” It’s an effective visual that reinforces that learning from challenges and mistakes needs to be intentional AND may require some sort of strategy to be sure it stays with you.

Beyond writing my insights and lessons in a notebook, I took the step to implement a couple of reminders in my calendar. There were also a few keys words that popped up that resonated so I made sure to include them in my vision board as daily reminders (I need things in my face!). After you’ve completed this question think about which items YOU need to act on and how to ensure it’s integrated into how you do things next year, so the lesson isn’t lost.

“Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.” -Dale Turner

3) What “baggage” – mindset, habits, beliefs, relationships, etc., do I need to release or LET GO OF before starting the new year?

Again, I like the luggage analogy of being mindful about what you are intentionally going to pack up and take with you. Because, the reality is, you don’t have to carry it ALL with you. You can decide to lighten your load. If you were to offload things, ideas, projects, relationships, or habits that are not serving you and maybe even causing negativity, what would they be? Be honest with yourself here…this one can be complex with mixed emotions, but it also could be the most liberating.

Once you’re clear with insights and ideas from these questions, you can decide how to fold them into your plan. Some takeaways from your end of year review may not translate into specific goals, but rather focus on working on your mindset or new behavior, for example. The biggest benefit of this exercise is the wisdom and growth you will gain as you continue to improve and become better- a better version of you, and a better, stronger business, allowing you to have more impact and have more fun.

Let’s make the most of this year and set yourself up for a focused, fulfilling, and financially successful year ahead!

Do you typically do an end of year review? What other questions or tips can you share?